back to article Ballmer pumps Windows 7 up to thrifty customers

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has used the ‘C’ word in a missive he wrote today that paints an austere picture of the world economy, but at the same time punts the company’s technology as a saviour to businesses and their depleted piggy banks. “In the new normal, one thing is clear: cutting costs is extremely important. But …


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  1. Peter 39

    I'm thrifty

    and that means that I don't want to pay any more for a Vista Business -> Win 7 Pro upgrade than I paid for Leopard to Snow Leopard.

    That was $29.

    It's about time that MS got the message that Vista buyers should get Win 7 (which is what Vista should have been) for low cost. A free service-pack would be better, but low-cost will do.

    Their present $199 fee for this is lunacy and certainly does not comport with "frugal"

  2. Anonymous Coward

    The 'C' word

    Crikey, the first thing that came to mind was c*nt.

    What on earth does that say about me?

  3. Anonymous Coward


    The sheer dreadfulness of Vista shoved a load of people over to Macs. $200 for the OS that is going to do what Vista was promised to do? On top of what you've been screwed out of for Vista?

    I don't think so.

    I'm seeing a lot of people look at it and say "we've given MS more than enough money for a big pile of shite, and it doesn't even help the roses out. Never again. Let's compare the cost of a Linux geek with a pile of Macs".

    If MS were to stand up and be honest, just once, we might go for it. "We're sorry, we stuffed up Vista. Win 7 is better, anyone who has Vista can have a free upgrade. Those of you on lower versions get it at a discount". But they won't.

    Mine's the one with a Jaunty Jackalope and a Snow Leopard in the pockets...

  4. Matt 58


    Are we vista users getting a free "upgrade" or what. I seem to rember buying an OS not something that randomly pauses for a few second every 10 seconds or for no reason looses connection to the web (a reboot in knoppix says that the net connection is fine) requiring a uninstall / reinstall of the network card drivers. I ticks me off all the little faults in it add up to something quite annoying. I run XP on the same hardware, no issues there. even xp in virtual PC in vista runs faster then vista its self.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    don't upgrade at all. If your apps are all running well and you're not facing hardware support issues then you can save a lot more money by not upgrading. The costs of upgrading (tech support troubleshooting upgrade issues, training time/costs if the UI changes, and licence costs if you don't have the right sort of agreement with MS) just never get included in any of these figures.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Geoff Mackenzie


    “To build a sustainable competitive advantage, companies must ultimately do two things - increase productivity and find ways to deliver new value to customers.”

    Counterexample: Microsoft; decades undeniably in the lead, virtually no new value delivered to customers.

    Thrifty customer here, sticking with the Penguin and the Puffer fish.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @Peter 39

    So how much did you pay for your Mac compared to an alternative windows machine? Sorry, my mistake the price difference reflects the superior engineering both of hardware and software by Apple. All those generic components wrapped in a lovely aluminum case - don't worry though Apple users can be nickled and dimed just like Microsoft users , only the Jobs Reality distortion field will make sure that warm self satisfied smug feeling won't slip.

  9. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Governments?! LOL!

    Look Ballmer you plank, gov depts do not need anymore ways to lose our data, you and your shonky swiss-cheese O/S will not improve things!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "it expects to save nearly $400,000 a year"

    Expects? Come back in a year and tell me how much it *did* save you. What's that, you say you can't because those numbers are nebulous and impossible to quantify in any reasonably accurate way? Do tell...

    Does anybody actually fall for this PR claptrap?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    hat he really meant was...

    Cutting your costs isn't a long-term winning strategy for Microsoft.........

    I can't believe how much a buffoon he is! I guess he's surrounded by fawning sycophants and he suffers from "Emperor's Clothes" syndrome.

    Why the hell would anyone trust the company that inflicted Vista on so many poor benighted souls?

  12. N2


    Perhaps Mt Ballmer has realised that in the real world people are no longer prepared to pay big money for overhyped slop.

    & I agree, Windows 7 shouldnt really be more than a few dollars after the abysmal crap that was shipped two years ago.

  13. N2


    Perhaps Mr Ballmer has realised that in the real world people are no longer prepared to pay big money for overhyped slop.

    & I agree, Windows 7 shouldnt really be more than a few dollars after the abysmal crap that was shipped two years ago.

  14. gollux

    An exec swimming in dough...

    can have such optimism over spending other people's money. C'mon, gotta help our pal Steve out!

  15. Andy Enderby 1
    Gates Horns


    Of course it's MS best OS ever..... the marketing dweebs always say that. They said it about ME and Vista..... Give it a while, and it may even be "the best MS OS ever". Even if it should turn out to be an abject steaming pile of excrement though it will be profitable to techies.

  16. Gil Grissum
    Gates Horns

    I won't be paying $199 for an OS upgrade

    Microsoft is is missing the boat on Price. Existing Vista customers (There can't be that many of them, since most have stuck it out with XP) should bet a steep discount. I'd buy Win7 for $79, $89 or even $99 upgrade. I'm not going to pay $199. I'll install a Windows 7 theme over Vista before I'll waste $199 on Win7.

  17. J 3

    I for one...

    I will be more than glad to pay the required price for the upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.10 myself in all my computers. Worth the money.

  18. frank ly

    I'm Puzzled

    "..And because Windows 7 improves productivity, it offers the potential to increase billable time for mobile workers at a rate of nearly $600 per PC..."

    Could somebody please explain this claim to me. I've tried to figure out what it really means and I'm just puzzled.

    On a related issue, I have Win 7 RC running on my laptop and I'm quite happy with it, but I can't see that it's made me use my laptop any faster than I used to.

  19. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Shouldn't this email be titled...

    "How to find new ways to give Microsoft more money even when your business is near financial collapse"? Seems a much more suitable title.

  20. Pinwizard


    Hey Steve, the emporer called and wants his clothes back.

  21. WinHatter

    The C word ...

    "crap" that's indeed the first word that comes to mind when talking about Win7

    "c*nt" is also de rigueur when qualifying Ballmer,

    But obviously Ballmer is not proficient in C ... or ++

  22. Mike Roantree 1

    havent we heard this before

    "the best PC operating system we have ever built"

    Vista was a joke, although 7 RTM seems ok there are a lot of things I dont like about it, although a lot of those are probly to do with change.

    Always said I wouldnt go to Vista and now I dont have to, windows 7 will have to shine very bright to make me move from XP until I absolutely have to

  23. deegee
    Gates Horns

    @Peter 39 16:09 "I'm thrifty"


    I've also been saying that licensed owner's of Vista should get a massive discount on Win7.

    But since that isn't going to happen, MS will just have to wait until I purchase a new computer to sell me a copy of Win7. I would replace (upgrade) my Vista x64 system to Win7 x64, but not if I have to toss away my Vista license and pay full pop for 7.

    <- pic should be evil ballmer and not gates...

  24. damonlab

    cost more than that

    In a Microsoft shop that keeps semi-current, you also get the costs of windows server, office, exchange, and sharepoint. Plus the cost of CALs for the servers, CALs for exchange, and CALs for sharepoint.

    And Microsoft wonders why businesses don't do every upgrade.

  25. Oldfogey

    Frugal is as Frugal doesn't

    I shall continue to be frugal by running XP until such time as there is some essential application or hardware which requires me to change.

    Probably another five years at least, as I am still usefully running ME on a number of older machines in undemanding roles.

    About the only people who need 7 urgently are those who were unwise enough to get Vista.

    Just checking my jacket lining for loose change......

  26. sleepy

    XP must have been bad

    If switching to W7 saves $160 and releases $600 of billable time per year, XP must have been really bad.

    Talking of frugal, Apple just announced education can license Snow Leopard (with Exchange integration), iLife and iWork for down to $20 a seat. What's the corresponding MS bundle? Does it do music, photo, video?

  27. Zack Mollusc


    I am looking forward to reading lolcat emails and updating FriendFace with this super new OS.

    $199 is cheap, I would happily sell my house and all its contents to help MicroSaintly.

  28. Mark C 1

    I'm with Peter 39

    Surely the "new normal" doesn't expect me (or my business) to pay silly money to move off of what is working (XP in my case) to Windows 7? I'm happy to pay for something that gives me a benefit but an OS is just there to run in the background and let me get on with stuff.

    And no ... I'm not moving us from office 2003 either thanks :-)

    And my servers are all Solaris or Linux ....

  29. PT

    Cutting Costs

    I'll second Peter39's comment above - a price point of about $25 might make it worthwhile to upgrade, though still hardly necessary.

    Of course, one can always cut costs by sticking with XP and whatever version of Office and other MS applications are currently standard in the organization. I believe that's the strategy we'll be following here, at least as long as we can still get XP licenses to upgrade new computers.

  30. Sureo

    city of Miami?

    What kind of production shop would deploy a major operating system upgrade while it is still in beta/release candidate? I would expect it to happen say one year after release. I doubt they'll save anything this way. I'm glad I don't live there.

  31. Tony Paulazzo


    >Miami’s recent deployment of Windows 7. The result: it expects to save nearly $400,000 a year in reduced security, management, and energy costs<

    is this possible? You still need to buy a decent anti virus/malware/firewall suite and unless the users are on standard user logins (which were available in XP), the UAC won't actually stop them installing anything (stupid is as stupid does), and energy costs... wtf are they going to be timesharing computers? or maybe, when they've completed their actual two hours of daily work, instead of surfing Facebook / porn / whatever, they allow the pc to go into sleep mode (also available in XP), and sit around the coffee machine bitching about photoshopped celebrities.

    Oh, unless they've changed from Macs and iPhones, but think how much more they'd save in going to Linux (bearing in mind the loss of productivity and blah blah in the beginning).

  32. Dani Eder
    Thumb Up

    Free is good

    They handed out free copies yesterday at the developer's launch event, so the price is right :-)

  33. MacroRodent


    Well, I'm frugal: I will continue using Linux as before (on all computers under my control, sadly at my workplace I'm forced to deal with Windows part of the time) , so I pay $0.00 for Windows 7...

  34. ForthIsNotDead

    Not persuasive argument

    Ok, I accept that its enhanced security may make it easier for network admins and IT support guys to manage their infrastructure, so if it makes life easier for those guys, then thats cool enough.

    However, in any organisation, the IT infrastructure team is a tiny percentage of the overall workforce, so he seems to be saying that Win7 will make things easier and simpler for only a small percentage of the users of any coporate enterprise.

    I'd like to know how Win7 can make my office of 25 people more productive than, say, WinXP? How does it do that? Can it do that? If it can't, then I see no real reason to force my staff to upgrade and climb a new learning curve, with the obvious initial reduction in productivity that a new OS will entail - learning the 'new' way to do things (i.e where have they hidden the icons THIS time), new deployment issues for IT staff, security/virus issues, service pack installation yadda yadda.

    In the light of the learning curve, and the upset it will cause, I would be a fool to not also evaluate the vast and impressive range of open source Linux based operating systems that are available. For free. I see the disruption as approximately the same, but without the financial outlay to procure the software. Why, once I have deployed, say, Suse, or Ubuntu, with Open Office and a decent email client, Adobe Acrobat etc, there is no reason for the *majority* of my staff to be tied to a Windows platform. If they can exchange documents in Microsoft format with external companies (which Open Office does fine, thank you very much), then surely, If I'm standing on the cliff edge deciding to jump or not, I need to at least evaluate alternative options to the Microsoft lock-in?

    I'm sure Win7 is fine. XP is also great, very happy with it. But my recent experiences with alternative OSs has seriously led me to question whether there are still good reasons to stick with a Microsoft only business.

    OK, if you are a development house coding for Windows, then sure, you need Visual Studio, and an MS platform, no argument. But if you are a consultancy, where you author, process, comment, and review project documentation, there are alternatives out there.

    I'm just starting to wake up to this realisation, and I'm sure others are too.

    Mark, Tashkent.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Wot, no 'L' word?

    I noticed he didn't use the L word, but I bet if it wasn't for the growing threat of L---- ( L being free, and all that), he wouldn't be thinking so hard about pushing the C angle. Or dropping his Cs.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 29/09/09 17:22 GMT

    Either you are a Open Source advocate or a Microsoft advocate—either way the accusation of "fanboi" can be levelled a you too. Here is a shocker for you—there are Windows based PC's on the market that cost more than Apple Macs! Sony make them. Dell make them. HP make them. Samsung make them too. They all make computers that are cheaper too. These normally have cheaper and lower quality components. As a result they have limited life expectancies. Sometimes the more expensive products have cheaper components as well! This is done in an effort to keep the manufacturers margins at a reasonable level because more people make cheap PC at low margins and Microsoft gobble up a small but not insignificant amount of that margin. Apple try and position themselves as a premium brand, in the same way that Paul Smith does, or LVMH do, or Mercedes do. If you don't think they are, then that's your choice. If you think that they are "form over function" then you are ignorant. If you think that "only wanky media types use them" then IMHO you are a snob. If you think that it's a con an that you can build an infinitely better machine for £2.50, a bag of Monster Munch and some sticky-backed-plastic then all power to you, the great majority of people can't be arsed or don't know how and are prepared to pay someone a premium to do it for them.

    With all this in mind, the fact remains that Windows 7, whilst an excellent product—Ballmer is absolutely right here, it is the best OS Microsoft have ever released—it is priced too high, with too many SKUs. Some put forward the argument that £25 for Snow Leopard was too much as it was essentially just a service pack. If that is the case the Windows 7 pricing really is scandalous, especially when you consider how much Windows Vista cost and how it completely failed to deliver, a failure that Microsoft themselves have practically admitted. We've all seen the clip of Bill putting it down (

  37. Anonymous Coward


    "For years, we’ve talked about how information technology enables companies to do more with less. But during this economic reset, IT provides business leaders with the answer to a slightly different question: Can my company with less, do more?"

    Someone really is taking the piss here. Slightly different question, yes - but same fucking semantics !! Do people really listen to this kind of drivel and think that they're being told something new or intelligent? I'm really a non-violent person but if someone told me that to my face I'd have to punch them in theirs. No, that's not true, I wouldn't punch them in the face, rather, in the face, I would punch them.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 17:22

    Ooohh sounds like somebody's Missus wouldn't let him spend any more money on new computer kit and is feeling a little left out of the party!

    Face it AC, Apple is the way forward! Don't give me claptrap about price. You'd happily spend 1000 sovs on a gaming rig plus a copy of premium wotnot Windows 7! So don't moan about the rest of us spending 1100 quid on an Apple desktop!

  39. deegee

    @Simon Banyard 09/30 10:11

    "Apple try and position themselves as a premium brand..."

    So you're saying that a Mac uses "higher quality" Intel processors and chipsets and other components than what any premium generic WinPC is using?? Sorry, that's a total no.

    I can build a WinPC for the price of a full Mac Mini setup and get way more power and flexibility and every bit as equal or better component quality.

    Apple charges extra for the brand and everyone knows it.

    I do agree with you regarding Sony, Dell, HP and other "brand name" WinPCs though, you can easily spend way too much for those brand-names as well.

    I'm not any type of fanboi myself, I look at Apple as just another over-priced brand-name PC. The reason I don't currently own one is because they don't run the software I need.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No I'm not saying that! I said "Apple try and position themselves as a premium brand" the key word there is TRY. Note that that was followed by "If you don't think they are, then that's your choice". At no point did I say that that choice was wrong. Also at no point did I say that Apple use better quality components than everyone else. If that is the inference that you got, then thats my fault, it's certainly not what I meant. They do, by and large, use some custom designed components in the Macs and AFAIK the form factor is not ATX - in other words, Mac's aren't made with just "standard components"—in fact the only major difference between pre and post Intel Macs is EFI and Intel processors, I also said if you can build what Apple, Dell et al. produce for considerably less, then well done, but the majority of people either can't or don't want to.

    "Apple charges extra for the brand and everyone knows it." THAT'S WHAT PREMIUM BRANDS DO!!! Sorry for shouting! Not to labour the point, but its exactly what Mercedes-Benz do. Louis Vuitton do it too. So do Sony. That's not a justification, just an observation.

    Sorry, I'm not having a go, but you seemed to have miss understood the point of my musings (or not read the whole post!) which was that, whilst at the more expensive end of the market, they are by no means as expensive as the majority of posters would have you believe, and that the AC's post which was having a dig at Peter 39 was way off target. Windows 7's pricing is too high, especially when you consider what Apple charged for 10.5–10.6 upgrades (in fact you can do 10.4–10.6 upgrades with same disk), and especially when you consider the global economy.

  41. Snert Lee

    The New Efficiency: With Less, Do More

    Oh, well here's a comforting new idea. Well, it was new maybe twenty years ago. And never really been comforting, but at least it's an idea. Or at least it's a upbeat marketing phrase.

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